Everything you need to know about doorbells and videophones
We may not think about it often, but the doorbell is an important part of a home. It’s used by visitors, parcel couriers and, unfortunately, unwanted visitors as well. With respect to doorbell systems, there are a surprising number of options ranging from traditional wired solutions to wireless videophones.
Here, you will find everything you need to know about doorbells.
The parts of a doorbell system
Every doorbell system has two parts:
The doorbell button is located on or near the door. When a visitor pushes it, a signal is sent to the chime. The sound of the chime alerts the occupants that a visitor is waiting at the door.
An enormous variety of doorbell buttons are available. Your choice depends on your personal taste and needs.
You can choose according to style. Some models are better suited to a modern home, while others suit a rural architectural style. There are plenty of styles to choose from, such as, round, square, large, small, plastic or stainless steel.
Some models allow for a name tag. Such doorbell has space for a paper tag for the family name, for example, “Johnson-Peters family”. Some people find this useful and others find it superfluous.
There are also multiple doorbells. Elaborate door stations have been developed for buildings that house multiple families (multigenerational housing or an apartment complex). These modules have multiple buttons, one for each resident. The family name is displayed so that visitors can find the right button.
When the doorbell is pressed, the chime creates the sound.
A wide variety of doorbell sounds are possible, from a simple buzzer to the playing of a melody. Some models allow a choice from multiple tunes.
And let’s not forget the doorbell volume. The typical sound level of a doorbell is about 70 dB. Extra loud models are also available that produce 80 or 90 dB. This is very useful for people who are hard of hearing or where the bell is quite far from the living areas.
Wired or wireless
Most doorbells are wired. Thus, a power cable is needed that runs from the doorbell button (via the fuse box) to the chime.
Currently, you’ll also find wireless doorbells on the market. The doorbell button and chime are completely separate parts. This makes it easy to move these to other places. What’s disadvantageous about this system? Wireless doorbells usually need batteries. So, over time, you will need to purchase new batteries.
Sometimes you want to know who’s at the door. Is it the parcel courier you’ve been waiting for all day or a pushy door-to-door salesperson?
A videophone or intercom provides a live display of who’s at your front door. A video feed is often combined with an intercom function. This allows you to see and talk to the visitor. Even handier is an electric lock. Connect the videophone to the electric lock and you can open the door remotely.
With a videophone, the resolution, viewing angle and placement are important. A higher resolution provides more detail and a clearer image. A wide viewing angle and thoughtful placement of the device will ensure that the visitor’s face will be shown.
Some videophones can make video recordings. These allow to check who came to the door when you were away from home. There are also models with a night mode so that visitors can be seen better when it’s dark. Just the same, we recommend that you provide sufficient artificial lighting. For example, you can install outside wall lights.
Buying a doorbell or videophone? Take the following points into account:
- Wireless doorbells are very convenient and can be moved easily, but need batteries.
- Choose a doorbell sound based on your personal taste.
- Doorbell chimes come in different volumes. An extra loud doorbell can be useful for people who are hard of hearing.
- Want to buy a videophone? Take into account the camera resolution and other additional features.
- Provide exterior lighting near the doorbell/videophone.
- Place a doorbell at a height of 120 to 130 cm and a videophone at 150 cm.